The development of affiliative and coercive reproductive tactics in male chimpanzees

Rachna B. Reddy, Kevin E. Langergraber, Aaron A. Sandel, Linda Vigilant, John C. Mitani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Like many animals, adult male chimpanzees often compete for a limited number of mates. They fight other males as they strive for status that confers reproductive benefits and use aggression to coerce females to mate with them. Nevertheless, small-bodied, socially immature adolescent male chimpanzees, who cannot compete with older males for status nor intimidate females, father offspring. We investigated how they do so through a study of adolescent and young adult males at Ngogo in Kibale National Park, Uganda. Adolescent males mated with nulliparous females and reproduced primarily with these first-time mothers, who are not preferred as mating partners by older males. Two other factors, affiliation and aggression, also influenced mating success. Specifically, the strength of affiliative bonds that males formed with females and the amount of aggression males directed toward females predicted male mating success. The effect of male aggression toward females on mating success increased as males aged, especially when they directed it toward females with whom they shared affiliative bonds. These results mirror sexual coercion in humans, which occurs most often between males and females involved in close, affiliative relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20202679
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1942
StatePublished - Jan 13 2021


  • Pan troglodytes
  • alternative mating tactics
  • chimpanzee
  • development
  • sexual coercion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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